Reese McHenry, Gold Light & Snakemusk

Reese McHenry

Gold Light & Snakemusk

Lonnie Walker

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$8.00

Reese McHenry
Reese McHenry
Reese McHenry grew up in Northern Minnesota. Nomadic by nature, she moved to different cities before settling in Durham, NC in 2000. In 2005 she started the seminal garage rock blues band The Dirty Little Heaters, beginning as a duo with Melissa Thomas, and in 2007, changing to a trio with Rob Walsh (Spinns) and Dave Perry (Jett Rink). The Dirty Little Heaters went on hiatus in 2011 citing Reese’s health problems and the departure of drummer Perry.

Reese can sing. In addition to being able to project her voice and sing on key, she can cut through the frequency of a heavy band with her crunchy and controlled scream. She has an emotive blues voice that changes from aggressive, powerful to soft and sweet. She often gets compared to Janis Joplin, but I find this to be a lazy as the comparison is less true in terms of sound and more so in terms of abandon.

Very prolific, Reese has written well over 300 songs, most waiting in the wings to be recorded. In her new duo, Reese McHenry and The Fox, her songwriting is short, punchy, and full on rock and roll. She can sing the most aggressive gut punch of a song, and also a quiet, aching country song, although not at the same show. Her songs are vastly different, although one could still categorize them under the term “rock” the real thread connecting them is her brand of wry humor mixed with her ability to catch a hook in a song and place it at just the right spot. The aggressive songs written for the duo could not transfer well to an acoustic set, and vice versa. So she does both solo and band sets.

Sidetracked by a near fatal stroke and Pulmonary Edema brought on by Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB), Reese spent 2009 - 2015 in and out of the hospital, at times so sick she could not walk 100 feet without resting. The decision to sever the faulty part of her heart and install a pacemaker, along with full gastric bypass has put her back on track to full time rock and roll.

Her new duo is not to be missed. Drummer Stephen Gardner, a Watertown, New York native living in Raleigh, NC, is a fantastic multi-instrumentalist who rounds Reese’s songs out perfectly. His busy, heavy kick drum mimics a bass guitar, holding the low end down with Reese’s power chords, opening up space for Reese’s wail and catchy songs to shine through. The two of them onstage are obviously having a wonderful time, laughing and poking fun at each other. They take themselves seriously where it matters, in the songs.
Gold Light & Snakemusk
Gold Light & Snakemusk
Perhaps a continuation of the little known, now defunct projects he fronted, The Neapolitan Children or Single Engine Airplane before it, Gold Light is the new name for the ongoing music of Joe Chang. Probably best known as a sideman playing guitar for Asheville darlings Kovacs and the Polar Bear, Joe has been writing, recording, playing, and mostly un-releasing his music for the past decade. The debut Gold Light full length will be his first proper release.

The album came about during a stint staying in the hills of Eastern Kentucky last spring. Intending to write more folky, acoustic numbers, Joe became enamored with the classic song structure of old Doo Wap and 50's rock songs, with the result being his whimsical take on classic verse/chorus/solo/bridge type songs. Done very quickly, he wrote, played, and recorded most of the songs himself. Other times, an assembled band (members of the defunct Lexington, KY band Bedtime) would come over, learn the parts on a whim, then record them in a take or two.

There's a cinematic storytelling quality to Chang's songs, perhaps derived from his pursuits in writing and film directing (he dropped out of film school, has produced a few low budget features). Less surreal run-ons like his previous monikers, the songs are more straight forward tales of love, loss and heartache. Tracks like "Control" and "Endless Beauty" could be from an obscure 60's garage band, while "Last Night (In My Dreams)" sounds like Hunky Dory Bowie channeling Roy Orbison not wanting to be lonely. "Gold" is a slowed down bass and finger snapping crooner, while "Divine Light" nods to Springsteen in it's weary yearn for something higher and good, with an open road invitation for a companion to come along for the ride. Closing track "True Love Never Dies" comes to terms with what happens to lovers on the run, or at least, puts trust into the hope that some part of life remains endless.

The mixture and balance of the old/classic and new/modern, things born and dying, trying to find some permanence in an impermanent world, or beauty in the shit, are perhaps fitting themes for the Gold Light debut. It rides the dichotomy of someone clinging to his fleeting man made precious objects, while reaching for something bright, filling, and redeeming, that you can never quite get your fingers on.. or maybe the only way to truly have it, is in it's release. —- Albee Wrightback (Summer '13)

For subsequent live shows, the assembled Gold Light band will feature Nesey Gallons (former Circulatory System/Music Tapes) on Guitar, Nicholas Kovacs (Kovacs and the Polar Bear) on Bass/Keys, and Adam Cullum (Can't Kids/Falling Off A Building) on Drums.
Lonnie Walker
Lonnie Walker
Venue Information:
Local 506
506 W. Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC, 27516
http://www.local506.com/